There is an expectation that University of Louisville men’s basketball head coach Rick Pitino will be fired on Wednesday after a report of the school’s involvement in an NCAA corruption scandal, according to Michael Eaves of ESPN. Pitino has told members of his coaching staff he believes he will lose his job.
Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich has been relieved of his duties, according to Mike Rutherford of Card Chronicle. Interim Louisville president Greg Postel has called a 1 p.m. ET press conference that Pitino and Jurich won’t attend.
An FBI investigation revealed a “pay-for-play” scheme to entice top recruits to join Louisville’s basketball program.
It is alleged that an Adidas executive conspired to pay $100,000 to the family of a highly-touted recruit to play college basketball at Louisville and then sign with Adidas when he turned pro.
The Hall of Fame coach has vehemently denied his involvement in the allegations.
“These allegations come as a complete shock to me,” Pitino said in a statement released by his lawyer, Steve Pence, according to Jeff Greer of The Indy Star. “If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorney’s Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable.”
While Pitino’s lawyer doesn’t feel there is any reason for the coach to lose his job, the school may feel a bit differently.
“While we are just learning about this information, this is a serious concern that goes to the heart of our athletic department and the university,” said interim president Gregory Postel in a statement. “U of L is committed to ethical behavior and adherence to NCAA rules; any violations will not be tolerated.”